Dearest monks and artists,
We are back after a monthlong break in our email newsletters. It is always good for us to have this sabbatical from our communications, to be able to turn inward a bit more and to give some time and energy to other projects.
We are thrilled to be launching our newest offering – a 7-day Prayer Cycle of morning and evening prayer on the theme of Earth as our monastery. Here is an excerpt from our Introduction:
Abbey of the Arts is a virtual monastery and global community of monks, artists, and pilgrims dispersed all over this beautiful globe. The Abbey was founded by Christine Valters Paintner in 2006 with a vision of supporting people to integrate contemplative practice and creative expression. In 2013 she and her husband John moved to Ireland and he joined her in co-shepherding this community. They are joined by a team of treasured Wisdom Council members who support this work with their own gifts.
We are not affiliated with any particular institution and open our doors to people from any denomination or none at all. We strive to create a place of welcome and hospitality where we might dialogue with one another and grow. Our spirituality is steeped in the rich Christian mystical tradition, and three strands of monasticism: desert, Celtic, and Benedictine, all of which profoundly influences our ways of praying.
We are an open and affirming community and strive to be radically inclusive. We delight in being joined by people like you, who are seeking to be monks in the world and artists of everyday life, seeking kindred spirits, a community committed to contemplative rhythms and creative expression.
Poetry is our nourishment. Art inspires our souls. We dance and sing for the joy of it.
Morning and evening prayer nourishes many monastic communities and we have integrated this rhythm of prayer into our live retreat and pilgrimage programs. Our participants expressed a hunger for a prayer cycle that could be used by community members no matter where they were, that reflected our values and emphasis.
We are thrilled to present you with the first week of our Abbey of the Arts Prayer Cycle which takes as its theme Earth as Original Monastery, inspired by Christine’s recent book. Nourishing an earth-cherishing consciousness is central to our vision and practice.
Each day you are invited to morning and evening prayer with the original cathedral, scripture, saints, spiritual directors, icon, sacrament, and liturgy. These prayers bring together the rich tradition of monastic prayer, the wisdom of ancient mystics, songs from our album compilations, embodied prayers to accompany each song, contemporary versions of the psalms, and poetry and blessings.
You are welcome to pray through on your own or with a group. We provide all of the written texts for seven days of morning and evening prayers in this free handout. Duplication is permitted with attribution. The songs are available to purchase as a CD or mp3 download and the dances are available for purchase on DVD or streaming format. Your purchases help to support our ability to offer these resources and continue to develop more weeks of the prayer cycle on different themes. This is a free resource but we warmly welcome donations to help us support the continued development of this work as we hope to eventually have four weeks of prayers created on different themes.
We will be creating and posting printable PDF versions of each day’s prayers as well as an audio podcast series coming in October which will guide you through each of the prayers with music. We also plan to create some leader resources for use in groups.
We hope that you will be inspired to create a regular rhythm of prayer in your daily life if you haven’t already and that you will include Abbey of the Arts as part of your experience. We are a global community, it will be beautiful to know we are all praying together for the renewal of Earth.
In addition to the Prayer Cycle, we are opening our Shop for the month of August and September where you can purchase a beautiful postcard book with art by David Hollington created for The Wisdom of Wild Grace. If you are in the U.S. you can also pre-order The Wisdom of Wild Grace – my second poetry collection – directly from me and it will be shipped to you from Paraclete Press in late September. There is a free gift when you order any 2 or more items – Sound & Stillness – which is a brand new album of me reading several of my poems.
Because of the pandemic we had to either postpone or cancel all of our fall 2020 live retreats and pilgrimages, but we have lots of wonderful online offerings available.
If you want to retreat together with kindred spirits in community, consider joining us this coming Saturday, August 15th on the Feast of the Assumption for an online mini-retreat on Mary, Queen of Heaven which I am leading with Betsey Beckman. We will explore Mary’s wisdom for these challenging times, especially how she might support us in calling forth our own inner sovereign.
We also have a 12-week online retreat starting September 7th called Way of the Monk, Path of the Artist, and it is a companion retreat in community to my book The Artist’s Rule. This book is the core of my teaching around the integration between contemplative practice and creative expression and is always a wonderful experience. This will be the first time we are offering with weekly live webinar sessions led by me.
There will also be a repeat of the Writing as a Spiritual Practice mini-retreat I offered in July on September 5th(this second offering has just a few spaces left).
And if you would love to immerse yourself in an online weekend retreat over the Feast of St. Francis where I will draw on wisdom from my recent book and upcoming poetry collection, you are welcome to join us!
With great and growing love,
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
PS – I published the poem “Lost” inspired by this current season of feeling disoriented in difficult days. You can read it at Pendemic.